Education, a service to Africa

Innovation in education would definitely mean a greater service to Africa. Many scholars have come out, stating their vote of no confidence in the current standard of education in South Africa. This, as a result of government’s attempt to lower the passing mark in different subjects, instead of finding better ways of teaching and learning the subjects that are of great importance in the education system.

However, a concerned citizen would obviously ask him/herself, “Aren’t there enough resources to equip the most disadvantaged pupild in the system? Aren’t there enough skilled educators and specialists for the potential problematic subjects? Or is it just that learners are not so enthusiastic to learn and progress? Or perhaps government is not paying enough attention where is it required the most? These are the questions that we (South Africans) need to ask and answer on our own. 

I’m 100% sure that the phrase “Innovation in Education” has not popped up for the first time; almost every concerned individual includes it in conversations around education, whether directly or indirectly. However, has there been any progressive solution addressing this?

Liso Ntuli, a young innovative and result driven educator at the Haven Academy Private School in KwaZulu Natal says: “Innovative models of teaching and learning should start at the foundation phase. These teaching models should be in a sequence that they tie together till grade 12. Firstly, changing educators every now and then has its own effect on the progress of learners. I believe that if I take my grade 8 class in 2017, I must take it through grade 9/10/11 and 12 in 2021 simply because I will be investing in these learners, and it will be easy for me to get to know their primary and secondary needs, on a classroom level. This also helps in building a teacher-learner relationship where learners trust you, knowing that you have their best interest at heart.”

Ntuli continues: “The problem with the education department is that it no longer listens or includes teachers in its planning. How can you plan for teachers without teachers? For instance, we have people from the South African Democratic Teachers Union (SADTU) who sit in very important committees where issues of learners and teachers are discussed at length, and the funny part is that none of these people are in the classroom to experience or have evidence of what happens there. This is where the problem starts.”

“This also differs in which school do you render service, if you are in a private school, then you are bound to use more practical examples of what you are talking about. Majority of private school goers are fortunate learners that are exposed to social media, Facebook, Instagram, Whatsapp, Google scholar and more, and all these require internet connection, of which internet becomes one of the priority resources the school will make sure it has, so that learners and teachers can access it for teaching and learning purposes,” adds Ntuli.

“Looking at things from a public school perspective, first you must look at the major barrier which is language. Most of our learners in public schools are not lazy, rather they simply struggle to make sense of what is written in English. Mind you, the learners in the private school that I teach at, they learn every subject in English, and the fortunate part is that English is their mother tongue. What about the black learner from kwa-Mashu primary who is subjected to learn almost all his/her subjects in English, which probably is a 2nd or 3rd language, and the only time they become free, and excited to express themselves and understand the classroom work is only when they are being taught in isiZulu which is approximately a 30-45 minutes period a day. 

“Government must also force retirement to current teachers for ages above 55-60 years. There is a lot of young graduate teachers produced every year, majority of them cannot get into the department of education’s system with their fresh minds and innovative teaching methods. Things are no longer the same, we need to change things so that everyone benefits equally. There is no excuse not to have computer labs in every government school with fully functioning internet. The textbook approach is no longer helping, most relevant and educational things happen on-line,” concludes Ntuli

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